……Indeed, almost everyone knows the surface answer — “the medicine is absorbed by the body faster.” But why is that? Well, I’ll tell you … essentially, when a medicine is placed under your tongue, it diffuses through the mucous membranes beneath your tongue. And because of the plethora of capillaries there, the medicine has a fairly direct route into your bloodstream. This results in the medicine working faster, and oftentimes, better (which you’ll see why in a minute.)
Ok, you say, but WHY does it work faster?
Good question — here’s the answer: When you swallow a pill, it must go through your entire gastrointestinal tract. This means the stomach (with acid and bile), the intestines (where most absorption takes place) and then off to the liver, for some more filtering. And THEN it’s delivered to where it’s needed.
Truthfully, it’s the long way, when you think about it. Going under the tongue bypasses this entire route, and delivers the medication right to the bloodstream. No waiting, no roadblocks — just right into the blood and off to do its job.
In addition to the speed, the medicine delivered sublingually is usually more potent, and (in general terms) needs less medication to do the job it’s intended to do (you may have heard stories about people cutting pills in half, then taking them under the tongue, to produce the same effect as swallowing one pill). The reason for this increased effect is the digestive tract is incredible harsh. And it’s meant to be — it’s how food is broken down, and the nutrients get stripped out, while the waste goes … well, you know…